Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Novelty Bags That Will Always be Novel - Critter Bags and Furry Clutches

Anyone and everyone knows that novelty items are my weakness: do I really need another purse shaped like a Pez dispenser or a furry monster? No...but am I going to get one anyway? Yes! Over the years, I've acquired animal-shaped bags, dessert-themed items, and I just ordered a faux fur clutch for fall (I'm calling it now: faux fur bags are going to be huge next season).

For those of you who go ga-ga for cute critter handbags, or those of you who love to tote around a kitschy slogan, I've rounded up some of the most novel novelty bags. You can click directly on the picture to shop the items, but you'll need to turn off adblocker first.

You can click directly on the items to shop if you have Adblocker turned off---no need for links today. Whew, cuts down on my workload!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cali Girl - Shimmery Slip Midi Dress

You know how fashion magazines are obssessed with the "French girl"? (The Parisian fashionista who wears all black and whose kisses smell like cigarettes and expensive perfume?) I have the same fixation with California girls (not like the Katy Perry song!) I love the laid-back, easy-breezy image of the Cali life. No shirt necessary, just a loose, shimmery slip dress and jewels that will catch the glint of the summer sun. Also, I want to indulge in the green-smoothie grind of Cali girl life, indulge in some overpriced ice cream, and consume all the sushi-burritos I can fit into my mouth. But I know that just like the "French girl," the "California girl" I have painted in my mind probably doesn't exist. However, if she did, I imagine she would rock this outfit all year-round.

Dress: I couldn't find this dress online, but since every Forever21 has different inventory, you might be able to find it in store. However, Forever 21 does have 3 very similar dresses: this embroidered-trim slip dress looks exactly like what I'm wearing, because the embroidery on the v-neck matches my scalloped bralette.

If you like the overlay effect on my dress, this sheer Forever 21 dress has the same idea. Also, if you want an even fancier version of my dress, this Forever 21 slip dress has fringe on the hem!

Bralette: Forever21, similar black one from F21 or blue one from Charlotte Russe ($10.99)
Necklaces: Marble choker || "Hamsa" hand necklace ($4.00) || long chain necklace
Ring: Infinity ring from Target
Bracelet: splurge || save
Purse: Forever 21. Only red, black tan, and white available
Shoes: Zara, similar here from Macy's
Sunglasses: Forever 21
Lips and cheeks: YSL 'Pink Hedoniste'

Monday, July 20, 2015

Little Town in the Middle of Nowhere - Arizona 3/4-Sleeve Lace-Trim Cardigan

Longline lace trim cardigan and Madewell Lafeyette mini bucket bag
Daisy patch shorts
Arizona 3/4-Sleeve Lace-Trim Cardigan
Forever 21 Embroidered lace-up sandals with tasselsHamsa hand necklace and ribbed crop top
For me, the world comes alive at sunset.

My parents live in a little rural town near the sea, in the middle of nowhere. If I'm lucky enough to make the drive at twilight, it is seriously a magical experience. The setting sun will light the amber fields on fire, and every passing lake seems like a portal to another sky, somewhere beneath the water's surface. As I'm passing through towns so small that their main street has a "feed store"---where the locals can be found outside a movie theater with flickering lights or the BBQ shop near the farm road with the windmill for a sign---I always play some Lana del Rey music so that I can relish in the nostalgia for as long as possible. Sometimes the feeling overwhelms me, and I have to get out near a broken-down gas station to take some pictures as the last of the light fades, because I'm scared I'll never see a world as beautifully and clearly as I do in that golden hour.
Cardigan: JCP (on sale for $28.99)
Top: Forever 21 ($14.90)
Shorts: Forever 21 ($22.90)
'Hamsa' Necklace: Love Culture, similar from Nordstrom Rack ($21.97)
Shoes: Forever 21 ($29.90)
Bag: Madewell

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Gladiator - YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick 'Rose in Tension'

Gray nude gladiator sandals
Marble print dress and Zara lace up gladiator sandals
Double pearl back earrings and YSL Rose in Tension Rouge Volupte Shine lipstick
Purple faux snakeskin python bag
Anthropologie bobby pin set
The name of my lipstick ("Rose in Tension") couldn't describe my current mood any better. I have moved on from my law firm internship and I am now volunteering for a non-profit that specializes in defending death row inmates. Even though our office uses the euphemism "capital work," there are ugly moments when I have to confront the fact that the names on the spreadsheet in front of me are people sentenced to die. I might get to visit some of our clients soon, and it's chilling to think of the isolation they experience in prison, the severity of their mental health issues that will never be addressed, and also the crime for which they are being punished. How will I balance the noble cause of public defense against the fact that these clients may have committed awful atrocities? That's the true tension.
Hair pins: Anthropologie
Lips: YSL 'Rose In Tension'
Dress: TJ Maxx, similar marble-print dress here from Forever21
Necklace: Forever 21
Shoes: Zara, (almost sold out, but here is a similar tan version from Topshop)
Purse: Marshall's, similar here from Amazon

Zara leather lace up gladiator sandals
Now that I have completely depressed you and ruined your fashion blog-browsing experience, I just wanted to express my absolute love for these leather gladiator sandals. I'm overjoyed that I caught them on sale at Zara last week; I had them on my wishlist since January! What I really love about them is that there are no vertical lines on the side of the sandal, unlike the ones that Kendi owns:
In my humble opinion, having vertical side-straps adds extra emphasis to the outside of the calves, an area that most women do NOT want to thicken. Also, the thick bands on my sandals prevent the straps from digging into my skin and causing that too-tight look. Just some pointers to keep in mind if you're shopping for gladiator sandals yourself! Below are some of my picks that meet this criteria:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Elevated Prices, Depressing Quality - Cupcakes and Cashmere Clothing Line Review Summer 2015

Cupcakes and Cashmere clothing line summer 2015 review and quality
When Cupcakes and Cashmere blogger Emily Schuman announced that she was releasing a clothing line, I knew I had to go check it out. Designing a clothing line is the ultimate achievement for any fashion blogger, and Emily's designs are already selling out at retailers like Nordstrom and Shopbop. 

I decided to stop by my local Nordstrom and "grade" her clothing designs to see if Emily's collaboration is worth the price tag. Since most of the pieces seem to retail for >$50, I wanted to make sure that I would be investing in quality clothes, not just a brand name.

Cupcakes and Cashmere clothing line at Nordstrom review for Pacific dress
The first piece I picked up was this "Pacific" stripe dress with an asymmetric detail down the side. Black and white stripe dresses are hard to mess up, and I thought this would be a worthy investment, even if the price clocked in at above $100.

What I liked: I loved the feel and weight of Emily's "Pacific" dress: the cloth is nice and thick, reminiscent of Banana Republic dresses. The length is not too short and still youthful.

What I disliked: The cut of the dress was puzzling. It was too broad up top (my chest area was loose) but the bottom skirt part was too tight (see the rightmost picture). At $110 a pop, I'd only recommend this dress for broad-shouldered yet skinny-hipped women.

Santa Anna skirt review from Cupcakes and Cashmere summer 2015 clothing brand
The Cupcakes and Cashmere "Santa Ana" skirt (excuse the typo in the graphic) instantly caught my eye on the rack. I could see myself getting a lot of mileage out of the skirt's bright, punchy color and accordion pleats.

What I liked: The dress isn't too sheer, and the material feels lovely sashaying around your legs.

What I didn't like: Do you see how ragged that hem is? Before you accuse me of wearing the skirt lopsided, I had the tag in the back and the elastic waistband was sitting evenly on my hips. I had to give this skirt a C+ overall score because the asymmetric hem indicated that this garment had not been quality-checked, and there was no way I was going to pay $115 for a badly-sewn skirt.

Cupcakes and Cashmere clothing line review for Presidio jacket and Laurel dress
The "Presidio" jacket and the "Laurel" dress were made to be worn together, as the ads for the Cupcakes and Cashmere clothing line demonstrated. However, I didn't feel the Cupcakes and Cashmere magic when I tried either of them on.

What I liked: The jacket was made solidly, with a drawstring waist and zipper. The jacket boasted four, nicely-sized pockets and the sleeves were perfect for rolling.

What I disliked: Notice I didn't say anything about the dress yet. That's because I couldn't find much to like. The fit was all right, for a drop-waist dress. The material though, was a whole 'nother story. Imagine the thin polyester you get at Forever21 or H&M. Now imagine something even thinner. This dress was see-through, even with the slip---a sure sign of bad quality.

And don't let me get started on the slip. This slip was garbage, by which I mean that this slip is one of those plastic slips that you discard as soon as you get home, in order to wear a real slip with your new dress. As tacky as the 80's---and the dress would cost me $110! No thanks!

Cupcakes and Cashmere brand clothing line review
The last piece that my Nordstrom carried was this "Huntington" button back floral blouse. At $85, it wasn't cheap, but it also cost less than the plastic slip-dress from hell.

What I liked: The pattern is pretty, and the fit is suitably boxy. The buttons all the way up the back of the shirt were a lovely detail.

What I disliked: I have seen this exact top at H&M before, I swear. Boxy tops are a dime-a-dozen, and the thin polyester of this top didn't deserve my weekly allowance.

As a Cupcakes and Cashmere reader, I was severely disappointed by this summer 2015 clothing line release, especially given that Cupcakes and Cashmere boasts the tagline "elevate everyday life." The quality of the items were not elevated, that's for sure, and the designs could be found elsewhere for less. I'm sure other fans will pay for the C&C brand name, but I can't justify the price tag for the bad quality of the items I tried on.